When my family and I moved from China to Chicago, I figured out that we had a family time problem. Now that we are here, my family is very happy that we had the chance to come to the United States, but everyone in my family is very busy because my parents need money to support the family. In addition, my sister and I are busy with studying in college. My family only has one day a week to get together in Chicago. It has also affected my sister’s and my education because we can’t share some things about our school with our parents. I haven’t even taken a trip with my family. Since my family moved to Chicago, there have been significant changes to our family structure due to our new busy lives.
First, my family and I have decreased our communication because we have less time to spend time with each other. Each of us has different schedules, but in China, my family and I spent time together every day. Now, my parents work in the restaurant for twelve hours, and only have one day off a week. However, in Guangdong, China, my parents only worked eight hours a day and had two days off each week. It’s a custom in China for people to have two hours to go home to eat lunch with their family; during that time, we could talk and share what I learned in school. My parents used to share their work experiences with me, but this custom has changed. Now when my parents come back from work, I am usually asleep. However, when I wake up in the morning, they are still sleeping. When we have a chance to meet each other, we don’t even have any comment to share with each other. After my family and I immigrated to Chicago, we missed our connection with each other because we did not have the same experiences that we had in China.
Furthermore, our time for recreation has also disappeared when my family and I came to Chicago. My parents always think about how to earn more money from work because they want to use money to provide a better life for my sister and me. My parents also spend a lot of time at work because we need to pay rent, car payment, taxes and other bills every month. Back in China, my family did not need to pay any property tax. Also, the house that my family and I lived in we inherited from previous generation, but in Chicago we had to start from scratch. In China, we only payed the price of the house after we pay it off, then we were done with the house. Living in Chicago, my family and I have lost a lot of joy because my parents spend most of time working and less time with my sister and me.
Finally, my family also used to be an important part of my education. In Chicago, my parents are very busy with their job, so I have lost their support in my education. In addition, my parents do not know any English, and they cannot help me with my homework. When I was in China, my parents spent most of the time with me doing homework and sent me to tutoring. After I came to Chicago, my family did not ask me if I wanted tutoring. In addition, since I started school here, they do not care about how or what I learn. My parents’ only say, “Study hard now, so you will find a better job.” If I try my best to finish my education, I am not sure that I will have a job to support my family because I know that are many unemployed people in the United States. My parents want to help me with my education, but they cannot because of the language difference. The only thing that they can tell me is to study hard.
It is impossible to go back; we can only move forward. Moving to Chicago made my family and I change our whole lives. My parents only focus on money because they need money to support the family which means that I lost a lot the part of adolescent time with my family. This experience of moving to the United States that my family has been bittersweet.